Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Assembler, Production (DOT 706.687-010) and the JBP Industries

This is the first follow-up on the generic instruction to always check the NAICS codes when the VE uses JBP as a basis for job number evidence.  Production occupations are the bread the butter of vocational experts (VE).  The American economy has a large manufacturing sector.  It makes sense that production work exists.  The question is how many exist as light, unskilled work.  A VE could identify production assembler and cite Job Browser Pro (JBP) for the proposition that this single DOT represents over 67,000 jobs.  The question that the representative must ask is whether JBP is reliable as to this occupation.  We start with the DOT code:

706.687-010 ASSEMBLER, PRODUCTION (any industry)
Performs repetitive bench or line assembly operations to mass-produce products, such as automobile or tractor radiators, blower wheels, refrigerators, or gas stoves: Places parts in specified relationship to each other. Bolts, clips, screws, cements, or otherwise fastens parts together by hand, or using handtools or portable power tools. May tend machines, such as arbor presses or riveting machine, to perform force fitting or fastening operations on assembly line. May be assigned to different work stations as production needs require. May work on line where tasks vary as different model of same article moves along line. ay be designated according to part or product produced.
GOE: 06.04.22 STRENGTH: L GED: R2 M1 L1 SVP: 2 DLU: 80
The DOT designates any industry but the narrative specifies the mass production of radiators, blowers, wheels, refrigerators, and gas stoves. Any industry does not mean all industries, it means many industries and at least more than four. The narrative narrows the scope of any industry to those industries that make vehicle parts, refrigerators, and gas stoves. Anything outside of that scope requires an explanation under SSR 00-4p.

JBP starts the list of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) list with food manufacturing subsector (NAICS 311000).  The manufacture of food does not involve the mass production of vehicles parts, refrigerators, or gas stoves.  It requires an explanation for that apparent conflict with the DOT.  

JBP lists eight industry groups (NAICS 311100 - 311800) after listing the food industry subsector.  That is double counting.  Each of the industry groups list between 4 and 12 DOT codes in each occupation-industry intersection.  The line for the industry subsector claims that production assembler is the only DOT code at that intersection.  The counting of the industry subsector fails to account for the other DOT codes in the industry groups.  

The CBP hyperlink in JBP lists no DOT codes.  The CBP page for other food manufacturing (NAICS 311900) does not list any production workers, all other (SOC 51-9199) occupations.  There are more jobs for production workers within NAICS 311000 than there are for NAICS 311100 - 311800.  

The next industry subsector listed by JBP is beverage and tobacco manufacturing (NAICS 312000).  JBP duplicates the number of jobs with industry group of beverage manufacturing (NAICS 312100).  The group has six DOT codes, the industry subsector just has production assembler.  Production assembler does not manufacture beverages or tobacco products and JBP has double counted.  

JBP lists textile product mills (NAICS 314000) and leather and allied product manufacturing (NAICS 316000).  JBP lists the printing and related support activities industry (NAICS 32300) and the petroleum and coal products manufacturing industry (NAICS 324000) subsectors.  These industries require an explanation in light of the narrative description of what production assemblers do on the job.  

JBP lists wood product manufacturing subsector (NAICS 321000) and three industry groups (NAICS 321100 - 321900).  JBP commits the same errors in listi9ng the paper manufacturing industry subsector (NAICS 322000)  and the pulp, paper, and paperboard mills manufacturing industry group (NAICS 322100).  JBP lists chemical manufacturing subsector (NAICS 325000) and seven industry groups (six of them in two composite groups) (NAICS 325100 - 325900).  JBP suggests the plastics and rubber products manufacturing subsector (NAICS 326000) as well as the plastics industry group and the rubber product manufacturing group (NAICS 326100 - 326200).  There is an apparent conflict with the DOT and double counting without accounting for all the DOT codes listed in the industry groups.  

The process of questioning the NAICS code assignment and the double counting problem continues.  JBP has not set forth a reliable methodology and any testimony based in whole or in part of JBP for this occupation is necessarily flawed.  

JBP confesses the unreliable methodology on the face of the Estimated DOT Employment Numbers tab.  JBP states that the Occupational Employment Statistics estimates that 1,590 DOT codes inside of production workers, all other represent 222,230 jobs in the nation.  The selected industries represent 274,076 jobs in version 1.70.2 of JBP.  The part cannot exceed the size of the whole.  JBP's job number estimate is not reliable for this occupation.  


Lawrence Rohlfing, Assembler, Production (DOT 706.687-010) and the JBP Industries, California Social Security Attorney (October 6, 2020), https://californiasocialsecurityattorney.blogspot.com/2020/10/assembler-production-dot-706687-010-and.html

Sunday, October 4, 2020

When the Vocational Expert Cites Job Browser Pro for Job Numbers; Check the NAICS Codes

 The title says it all and if you know exactly what that means, this piece tells you something that you already know.  For those that don't know exactly what the title of this piece means, this is a primer.  


The DOT contains a parenthetical statement of industry.  The industry statement is an integral and inseparable part of the DOT description of any occupation. The Introduction, Parts of the Occupational Definition to the DOT says exactly that.  

The body of the definition contains the lead statement that describes worker actions; objective or purposes of worker actions; machines, tools, equipment and work aids used; materials, products, subject matter dealt with or services rendered; and instructions/judgment involved.  This is the other clue to where the occupation belongs.  

Job Browser Pro

JBP uses the Department of Labor crosswalk to determine the SOC code for an occupation.  This used to be always true; it is now true most of the time.  See the prior post about Goode v. Commissioner.  

JBP uses a combination of the industry designation and the narrative definition of the occupation to assign the industry according to the NAICS codes.  NAICS codes are the foundation of County Business Patterns and are used by both the Occupational Employment Statistics and Employment Projections to distribute jobs within a SOC code.  


NAICS codes in four flavors:  two-digit industry sectors; three-digit industry subsectors; four-digit industry groups; and five and six-digit specific industries.  Other than the six digit variety, the NAICS code is the same in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.  The key to understanding what is presented is easy -- ignore the zeroes, they are place holders, not digits for coding.  

The Problem

On many occupations, JBP cites NAICS codes using three and four-digit to describe the SOC-NAICS code intersections.  When JBP does that, it double counts the jobs and will not do so consistently between the other DOT codes involved.  The problem is the OES.  Labor does not always report four-digit codes for job numbers within the SOC or does not report all of the four-digit codes within the SOC.  Where the DOT code exists in more than one industry group but OES does not report all the industry groups, JBP will report the three-digit subsector and then also report the four digit subsectors that OES does report.  This is an invalid methodology.  We will look at production assembler as an egregious example of this problem later this week.  Production assembler has multiple industry subsector and industry group assignments that lead unreliable job numbers.   

The second problem is not obvious.  JBP reports an industry group for one occupation and the industry subsector for another occupation.  This is again an invalid methodology and wrong.  This is the problem with advertising distributor.  

The third problem is apparent upon inspection of the JBP for the occupation cited by the VE.  JBP assigns industries that are in conflict with either the DOT industry designation or the narrative lead statement of the work performed.  Next week, we will look at small products assembler (I and II) as an example of this problem.  As a tease, know that small product assemblers do not work in any food industry.  

When JBP double counts jobs, the method is facially unreliable.  When JBP assigns NAICS codes inconsistently between DOT codes in the same SOC-NAICS intersection, the method is facially unreliable.  When JBP assigns DOT codes to industries inconsistent with either the DOT industry designation or the narrative, JBP has an apparent conflict with the DOT without a reliable explanation to permit resolution of the conflict.  More about this in the posts to come.  


Lawrence Rohlfing, When the Vocational Expert Cites Job Browser Pro for Job Numbers; Check the NAICS Codes, California Social Security Attorney (October 4, 2020), https://californiasocialsecurityattorney.blogspot.com/2020/10/when-vocational-expert-cites-job.html  

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Advertising Distributor and Job Browser Pro -- Why is it Wrong?

 A vocational expert (VE) identifies advertising-material distributor (DOT 230.687-010) as a light, unskilled, simple 1-2 step occupation.  The VE says that the occupation represents about 30,000 jobs in the nation.  I think:  "That can't be right."  So I ask:  "How do you know that?"

The VE points to Job Browser Pro (JBP) as the basis for the testimony.  We are in the middle of the CV-19 crisis; the hearing is by telephone; I pull up JBP on the fly.  Damn, the VE is close, JBP says that advertising-material distributor represents 29,792 jobs in the nation.  Almost all of the jobs are in the employment services (NAICS 561300) industry.  Employment services is the industry group that contains temporary agencies.  "Don't temp agencies send people in all occupations?"  After some struggle back and forth, the VE affirms that that suspicion is true but that JBP is still a valid source for job numbers.  I now need to disassemble the occupation and its job numbers.  

JBP lists  advertising-material distributor and billposter (DOT 299.667-010) (medium unskilled) as helpers - production workers (SOC 51-9198) as existing in employment services.  Four digit industry designations represent industry groups that contain five and six-digit industries.  NAICS 561300 contains specific industries.  I need to find them and determine whether JBP has designated a specific industry and attributed all of those jobs to other DOT codes.  

JBP has a CBP hyperlink in the box describing the industries in which the DOT code exists.  CBP is the designation for County Business Patterns, #2 on the list of enumerated examples of administrative notice.  The CBP link takes me to the SkillTRAN Industry Analyzer.  I click on the Staffing Patterns button.   Clicking on the green "+" button for 51-9198, I find the DOT codes that SkillTran assigns to NAICS 561300.  Low and behold, there are not two but ten DOT codes:

SOC 51-9198 – Helpers – Production Worker








business services





any industry





any industry





any industry





oils & grease





machine shop





any industry





any industry





any industry





any industry



I change the 561310 to 561320.  This is the Temporary Help Services industry.  This has the green "+" button for 51-9198.  I click on it.  There is that same ten DOT code list that I saw for 561300.  Curiosity killed the cat so I meow and look at the specific five-digit industries.  I change the 561300 in the URL to 561310.  This is the industry designation for Employment Placement Agencies.  Sorting by SOC code, I see that SkillTRAN lists our two culprits, advertising-material distributor and billposter, but not the other eight.  

I change 561320 to 561330.  This is the Professional Employer Organizations industry.  This industry as a DOT list so I sort by SOC code.  The occupations from 51-9198 are advertising-material distributor and billposter.  

Back to JBP, I search randomly for store laborer (DOT 922.687-058).  JBP states that this occupation exists in industry 561320, that the industry employs 53,532 helpers - production worker, and that store laborer accounts for 6,691 of the jobs (which is almost all of the jobs attributed to store laborer by JBP).  JBP lists eight DOT codes:  the list of ten occupations less advertising-material distributor and billposter.  

I need to complete the circle.  Resorting to the OES May 2019 National Industry-Specific Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for NAICS 561300.  The OES confirms that "Industries within NAICS 561300 - Employment Services" includes 561320 - Temporary Help Services.

The OES reports that Helpers - Production Workers represents 78,690 jobs as of May 2019.  

The OES reports that Helpers - Production Workers represents 68,130 jobs as of May 2019.  

The difference is 10,560 jobs.  The OES does not report job numbers for NAICS 561310 or 561320.  CBP does but I have already completed the circle.  

JBP double counted the 53,532 jobs that it places in NAICS 561320 in accounting for them all again in NAICS 561300.  Including the part-time work, JBP estimates that NAICS 561320 has 84,971 jobs and NAICS 561300 has 94,492 jobs.  JBP is starting 16,000 jobs too high.  

The question is, how many  advertising-material distributor jobs are there?  JBP uses equal distribution as its methodology.  JBP does not list the extra eight occupations in NAICS 561310 or 561330 but lists all ten occupations in NAICS 561320.  Using JBP's intersectional equal distribution, half of the 10,560 jobs and one-tenth of the 68,130 jobs to arrive at 12,063 jobs, full and part-time for  advertising-material distributor.  

JBP says that 37% of the jobs are part-time.  The O*NET says that 6% of helpers - production workers have part-time employment.  The industry-specific full versus part-time is more applicable.  Advertising material distributor represents 7,600 full-time jobs that matter at step five of the sequential evaluation process.   

This is the danger of failing to fastidiously stick to either three, four, and five digit NAICS codes by JBP.  The data limitation exists because JBP relies on the OES and the OES only reports statistically significant occupation clusters.  When JBP reports job numbers, the careful user must travel up and down the NAICS code tree to determine whether the industry designation is accurate and that the jobs were not over or undercounted.  The mantra must remain, trust but verify.  When it comes to vocational experts, they do not get paid enough to take that journey.  We have a fiduciary obligation to take the trip.  Bon voyage.    


Suggested Citation:

Lawrence Rohlfing, Advertising Distributor and Job Browser Pro -- Why is it Wrong?, California Social Security Attorney (October 1, 2020), https://californiasocialsecurityattorney.blogspot.com/2020/10/advertising-distributor-and-job-browser.html